Gorilla trekking is the most enjoyed tourism activity for anyone visiting Rwanda. However many people do not know how best to prepare for this exciting and lifetime memorable adventure. In this article we have offered you the 10 best tips or guidelines to help you prepare for your gorilla safari.
Be realistic about your fitness level
Rwanda is generally a hilly country at 1,500m above sea level and during the trek you many have to ascend to an elevation of more than 3,000 meters along the steep forest paths. You should always put into consideration your fitness capability and know how far you can go. The gorilla trekking hikes take from thirty minutes to ten hours, and the good news is that you will be assigned to trek a group whose hiking distance you can actually manage.
For those of you who are physically fit, we recommend that you take the longer hikes as it will be a great adventure as well with rewarding vies of the different vegetation zones, birds, trees and above all the ultimate encounter with the gorillas.
Make a research on the gorilla groups before trekking
Fortunately, Rwanda gives you an opportunity to trek any gorilla group that you request for. So take some time off and research about each group then decide on which one you prefer seeing basing on may be the hiking duration, or number of members in the group. The choice is all yours.
At the starting point of the gorilla trek you will find a couple of porters who will help carry your bags, provide you with walking sticks as well as help you traverse the slippery forest paths especially on the steep slopes. Each of these porters is paid $10 for their services. Actually these porters are local residents living around the part and they earn a living from doing this kind of work.
Wear the appropriate clothing for gorilla trekking
During this thrilling activity you will trek through the verdant rain-forest which has thorns and stinging nettles. So you will have to dress appropriately to ensure that you protect yourself from being stung or pricked. So wear thick gloves (preferably gardening gloves), a long-sleeved shirt preferably light-weight, a rain jacket since it rains most times, as well as fairly-thick trousers. Above all don’t forget to wear ankle-supporting hiking shoes.
What to carry with you
Bottled drinking water, a snack, camera, sunscreen, a hat and preferably a small back pack in which to carry these.
How to use your camera in front of gorillas
While with the gorillas’ you will have a chance to take some memorable photographs as well as shot videos however the most important thing to remember is to always keep the flash light of your camera off.
Etiquette while with the gorillas
Keep in mind that you will be exploring that natural habitat of these gorillas so we advice that you respect it and behave well while in their presence.
Fortunately gorillas are generally peaceful, so ensure that you follow these few guidelines
Don’t stare directly into their eyes
Never run away from a gorilla
Never trek while sick
In case you get the urge to sneeze or even cough, always turn-away your head
Never eat or even drink in the presence of gorillas.
Maintain a 7 meter distance away from the gorillas always
Although this is an all year round activity, the best time to enjoy a gorilla trekking safari is during the dry season and that is starting in the month of June up to September. That way the trails will be less slippery since it won’t be raining all the time.
Make the most of the 1 hour with the gorillas
You will be allowed to spend one hour with them so during that time don’t waste all of it simply shooting videos and taking photos, spend some time to appreciate the gifts of mother nature as well as look at these amazing giant gifts. Watch their behavior and how the young gorillas play and swing on trees.
Read through our gorilla information on our website
Spend some time to read through our useful article about these gorillas as these will best help you prepared for a gorilla trekking safari in Rwanda